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Developers in a Database technology meeting, where are the DBAs?


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Till 3 or 4 years back when we wanted to talk about database technologies obviously there would be (only) DBAs in the room. The discussions would be around scalability, manageability, backup/restore and database features etc. Since last year or so, we are finding a stark difference when these meetings are happening. We are seeing developers taking lead and driving the discussion.

​And we see additional questions being asked around support for development lan​guages, datatypes and flexibility. What has brought about this change? ​​Where are the DBAs and why are developers interested in talking to us? Lets look at some trends.​

There are few things that are influencing this change:

1. Need for Speed:

Organisations are in a tearing hurry to come out with new applications. Developers are under pressure to deliver application faster. This leaves very little time for developers and DBAs to collaborate to properly design the application and decide which part of the logic to go in SQL and which part to retain in application side. Instead developers are loving the freedom provided by NoSQL database which are very developer friendly and which do not require logic to be built in something like stored procedure.

2. Speed of Change :

The need for above approach is reinforced by rate of change in business requirements. In fact the business requirements are not changing but they are evolving as the business is growing. Specially in the e-commerce and web applications world ( now a days you can put most of the new applications in this category) one wants to have all the flexibility in database schema so that it can cope up with the ever changing needs. In such cases, NoSQL offers benefits of schemaless database design.  This puts developers firmly in control of development.

3. RDBMS Cost and Commoditization of Features:

When developers are faced with above mentioned business challenges, they instinctively pickup NoSQL as a first option. This get reinforced by higher costs of RDBMS licence and on top of it when developers find that they can live without strict ACID compliance database, they find it easy to convince the management to go with NoSQL database.

This trend (of developers ​influencing ​the discussion regarding database technologies) does not mean that DBAs have no role to play. The role of DBAs is evolving too. Their day is now better spent in managing multi-node highly available databases or fine tuning the backup and recovery strategy to align with business or compliance needs. They don’t have to spare time and effort on writing or tuning Stored Procedures or spend time on mapping development needs with business requirements to come up with data-model. DBAs are loving this change where they are able to concentrate more on core DB administration, management and operational tasks.

So it is a win-win situation for developers and DBAs

Interesting times are ahead.

-Sachin Dabir, CEO | Ashnik, UK 


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